top of page

COVER STORY | Family Traditions: The Wijangco Family of Naperville Shares on their Summer Travels


NAPERVILLE–Having three active boys in the family makes for extremely dynamic summer fun for the Wijangco family. Traditionally speaking, Owen (12) plays baseball at Naperville Little League, Carter (17) fishes many different bass circuits and travels the U.S. throughout the year, and Max (14) skateboards, snowboards, and mountain bikes. Summers bring family fun to Centennial Beach, fishing at May Watts Pond, hiking at Waterfall Glenn, morel mushroom hunting, and gardening at the garden plot through Naperville Park District; however, they also visit Iowa quite a bit because that’s where mom grew up and loves to share childhood traditions with her boys.

“Each summer we visit Decorah, Iowa and trout fish in the countryside. It is beautiful, serene and one of my favorite activities with the boys. We also visit a drive-in movie theatre in Maquoketa, Iowa and The Maquoketa Caves State Park is an absolute must see if you go to Iowa - it is a state park like no other,” Jill says. “You can hike through many caves and it offers breathtaking hiking. If you do visit the Quad City, you must try Whitey's ice cream and Happy Joe's pizza - taco pizza is a must!”

Now that they boys are older, this summer Ray is taking them along with other dads and their kids to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota where they will portage (carry) their canoes for up to a mile from one body of water to the next. This is Ray’s third year continuing a tradition that was completed by Jill’s dad with her cousins’ years earlier. The boys will canoe, camp, and fish for a week with absolutely no cell service or civilization.

The Wijanco’s have a bit of practice with this type of lifestyle. Ray is the Cubmaster for Pack 101 and Jill is the Conservation Director for Illinois Bass Nation and was a Den leader for Cub Scouts for five years. The family works hard and plays hard.

Other adventures this summer include Ray and Owen backpacking to Pitchard Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, MI where they will camp for 4 days. Max is also making his second trip to Camp Woodward which is a sleep-away camp in Woodward Pennsylvania. Max will skateboard and learn from the very best for an entire week and Ray will tag along as a camp volunteer.

The Wijangco’s enjoy staging vacations surrounding their children’s passions. Last year, Jill and her mom went to Table Rock Lake in MO and watched Carter at one of his fishing tournaments and they were able to visit her mom’s childhood home in Steelville, MO on the way and it brought back so many wonderful memories. Other memories include traveling to Kentucky Lake for one of Carter's high school tournaments and Ray and Jill enjoyed mountain biking while Carter was fishing.

The tans will fade but the summer memories will last forever……as every summer has a story.

We didn’t realize we were making memories; we were just having fun!